Brazilian jiu-jitsu
within Judo family

Another style of Judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, took roots in the mix-up of massive people migration waives of the beginning of 20th century. Mitsuyo Maeda started live outside of Japan as a typical prize-fighting judoka of early 20th century from the best of Kano’s Kodokan breed (even accounts differ on his biography). When he decided to hang his traveler’s shoes and settle down in a nice place, he chose Brazilian Para state with well established and rapidly growing Japanese expatriate community that enjoyed both, support from Brazilian as well as from Japanese governments.

He accepted help from affluent and politically connected Gracie family and paid back by giving them the best what he had – his knowledge of Judo. At the time, 1920th, Judo was known outside of Japan as the most potent school of Jujutsu (often spelled as Jiujitsu or Jiu-Jitsu as well). That when the new art, new off-shot of Judo, has been born – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu .

Gracie family still holds the leading positions in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that often referred as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu , and controlling its development much more then Kodokan can control Olympic Judo .

The story how Helio Gracie turn development of the family art into primary ground fighting ( newaza ) style is very similar to how David Rudman , legendary Soviet SAMBO master who currently heads American Amateur SAMBO Federation and FIAS (Federation International Amateur SAMBO) , described the creation of his feared ground fighting style 30 years later (he calls it the “corner style” because it was born in the far corner of the training mat due to the limited space for “normal” standing randory, often allocated for more promising athletes then future multi-time Soviet Union and World champion in SAMBO and gold medal holder in European and bronze in World Judo championships ). I don’t know names and personal stories of Kodokan pioneers of newaza oriented style that became Kosen Judo , but I would expect them to be very much alike with adjustment for the Time and the Place.

The Place and the Time for Helio Gracie was favorable. As Mitsuyo Maeda violated Kodokan code of conduct by participating in non-Judo matches and at the time became disfranchised (at least in his own view, even been eventually promoted up to the 6th dan), Gracie family Jiu-Jitsu school had no bounds and no oversight from Kodokan (especially as Maeda left for his own interests). Without adhesion to the philosophical principals of Dr. Kano’s Judo and with readily accepted cross-disciplinary (non-Jujutsu) challenges, it’s diverted more toward practical techniques that allow dealing with opponents regardless of the style of dress and preferred tactics. In these circumstances newaza got very handy: even fights starting in the standing position, at one point both fighters getting to the ground. As it was no ground fighting limitation in those ‘no-hold-barred’ matches, the ability to gain quick submission by joint-lock or strangulation of opponent without proper training in such techniques, looked like definite style superiority. In addition, Gracie family enjoyed the long list of really good fighters . Blend all this together and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no surprise to dominate Ultimate Fighting Championship .

From the practical perspective, outside of the sporting arenas, concentration on newaza provides advantage in a set of very special circumstances , such in the police arresting process while encountering out-of-control-under-influence subjects. This gives Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a good name in the police departments across US. As for civilian self-defense , it provides less value then other, more balanced Judo styles (even pure sport version as the modern Olympic Judo ).


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